Coming of Age Resources

Coming of Age for a girl is often assumed to mean getting her first menstrual period. That is a very important occasion but there are also many other coming of age landmarks that we can honor and celebrate with rituals small or large.

I think of Coming of Age as marking the transition from childhood to adulthood, so of course it really doesn’t happen at one specific time. It’s a long series of learning responsibility and gaining self-sufficiency.

As parents we can choose the events and rituals that we emphasize as coming of age for our children. From birthdays to first day of pre-school, to losing a baby tooth, to riding a two-wheel bike. to learning to read, etc., etc.

My daughters always preferred smaller rituals to big elaborate ones. When they got their first periods they didn’t want a party so I did something special with just me & them, tailored to the interests of the individual.

Resources on Coming of Age Rituals:

Articles at

Michelle’s Rite of Passage Story

Wikipedia Article

Rite of Passage Journeys

Going on 13 Film

What resources do you recommend?

Celebrating Her Coming of Age

So many transitions are gradual. But not getting your first period. When it happens, it happens! More and more mothers, like Rebecca Hecking, are planning ahead to celebrate this natural and inevitable event in their daughters’ lives. What could be better than starting her journey with guidance, love, and joy?Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing your story with us. You’ll find more personal stories about helping our daughters grow up at

Long before my daughter reached puberty, I knew I wanted to plan a Coming of Age ceremony for her. Menarche in our culture is still shrouded in secrecy and shame, although thankfully things are improving. I wanted to begin her journey into womanhood on a firm foundation of body acceptance, self-esteem and love.

When Julia was little, I traveled to the Greek island of Crete on a study tour, learning about the wonderfully egalitarian and woman-honoring culture of ancient Minoan Crete. One day browsing in a shop I discovered a beautiful handmade bowl. It was glazed in a deep red shade, and had a slight swirl pattern. I immediately knew that this piece would come home with me, and be the centerpiece of Julia’s Coming of Age celebration. I wasn’t sure what I would do with it, but it felt right.

Years later, Julia came home from school one day and discovered that her period had started.  Like most girls, she was a little scared and excited at the same time.  I dusted off the bowl, and began to plan her celebration for a weekend getaway with a group of my friends. We would crown Julia with flowers, and celebrate her journey together.

The bowl became a symbol of her blood,  her emerging woman-self, and her spirit. Each of us offered a symbolic gift to Julia by adding it to the bowl. For example, one person poured in a bit of honey to symbolize our wish for her life to be filled with sweetness.

Around the bowl, we placed a set of Russian nesting dolls, which symbolized all the women who have come before her in our family, as well as the generations yet to be born. Seeing herself symbolically linked to her grandmother’s grandmother was powerful and beautiful.

Julia had a wonderful time, and all of us felt that our inner girl got a shot of empowerment and love. I encourage you to create a unique celebration for your daughter. Surround her with love, and watch her blossom.

Rebecca Hecking is a part-time professor and full-time mother of three. She blogs at and is the author of the forthcoming book, The Sustainable Soul: Eco-Spiritual Reflections and Practices, to be released  this March by Skinner House Publishing.

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